A bit more on my evolving expense structure

DannyB Superuser ✭✭✭✭✭
edited May 2023 in How do you Simplifi?

At this time I have divided my expenses into 8 groups. These groups are based on these three levels:

  1. Monthly and non-monthly.
  2. Fixed and flexible
  3. Discretionary and non-discretionary

Simplifi only allows two levels: Top category and sub-category, so to fit this breakdown into Simplifi I conflated all three of these into top categories and then sort out all my expense categories under one of these headings. Gettoing this into Simplifi for the monthly expenses are no big deal because:

  • Monthly fixed discretionary and non-discretionary fit nicely in the Bills (non-discretionary) and Subscriptions (discretionary) sections.
  • Monthly flexible expenses all fit into the Planned Spending module of the Spending Plan.

What I'm working on is how to make sure I'm covering all the Non-monthly expenses. Here again these expenses are divded into fixed & flexible - discretionary and fixed & flexible - non-discretionary. For now I will continue using Savings Goals to set aside money monthly to cover these expenses when they come up. But this is where I wonder if the solution to this part of everyones Spending Plan could be handled with what would in essence be another Spending Plan seperate from but allowing flow between the existing monthly Spending Plan.

The "annual" (for want of a better term) Spending Plan would look pretty much like the monthly Spending Plan except where the "income" piece would be transfers from the Monthly Spending Plan much like SG contributions are handled.

You would be able to set up all your non-monthly expenses just like we do now for our monthly expenses. Income would be those monthly "contributions" or transfers from the monthly plan. Bills like home insurance, auto insurance, property taxes, and whatever other annual, semi-annual fixed recurring expenses would go into the bills section. Flexible annual or non-monthly expenses like gifting, home, auto maintenance/repair, etc could go into an Annual Planned Spending section.

However, unlike the monthly spending plan the funds transfered to the annual spending plan would accumulate from month to month giving you access to these funds when needed without having to remember to mark the transaction "ignore" and then remembering to withdrawl the money from a Savings Goal. (Ignore from monthly Spending Plan would be automatic just like transfers default to ignore now.)

One more benefit is that Savings Goals could be reserved and used for more appropriate things like saving to buy a home, or a car or college, or…

Thoughts? Ideas? Missteps?

Simplifi user since 01/22
Budget: a mathematical confirmation of your suspicions.” ~A.A. Latimer


  • ajbopp
    ajbopp Superuser ✭✭✭✭

    @DannyB One thing I've started doing is using Tags instead of Categories to define Discretionary and Non-Discretionary. Every expense gets one of those two tags (and I can add more if I want). It makes it a snap to generate a report on discretionary spending.

    So with the month half over I can see that one third of my expenses have been entirely optional - I just "decided" arbitrarily to buy those things. Some of them were reasonable, some not so much, but this gives me a quick and easy snapshot of how I can change my behavior. It also helps me understand my expenses in a slightly finer-grained detail.

    For instance, when I get food at the grocery store, I can confidently say that it's non-discretionary. When I get non-food items at the grocery story (charcoal briquets, for example) it's not always clear but I can usually make a broad determination pretty quickly. When I buy alcohol at the grocery store I know it's discretionary (and yes, all of these things are sub-categories of "Groceries" in my Category list).

    So far I'm finding this approach is working very well, and that discretionary vs non-discretionary works far better as a tag than a category.

    Anthony Bopp
    Simplifi User Since July 2022
    Money talks. But all my paycheck ever says is goodbye

  • DannyB
    DannyB Superuser ✭✭✭✭✭

    Thanks for sharing this idea. I won't be active on here for next couple weeks but will give thisa try when I get back.

    Simplifi user since 01/22
    Budget: a mathematical confirmation of your suspicions.” ~A.A. Latimer
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